T-Mobile unveils free Wi-Fi calling and texting for everyone on all new devices

Plus a Personal CellSpot and partnership with Gogo

T-Mobile continued its Un-carrier push version 7.0 today, dubbing this phase Wi-Fi Unleashed.

CEO John Legere and Co. stressed during an event in San Francisco that Un-carrier 7.0 is about lifting barriers to connectivity, and unveiled a number of initiatives to do so.

First off, all new smartphones offered by T-Mobile will come with Wi-Fi calling and texting. Every consumer and business customer will have access to the service, and the capabilities extend across the globe.

Connectivity has no limits, Legere said, whether you're in your basement, man cave or elsewhere. The new T-Mobile Personal CellSpot, a router that delivers full-bar T-Mobile connectivity wherever customers have broadband, prioritizes calls over HD Voice so customers can keep talking no matter where they're located.

CMO Mike Sievert stressed that while other users in the home may be streaming 1080p videos, the Personal CellSpot will put a T-Mobile call on top of the stack. There are no usage limits, and the CellSpot behaves like any normal router, save for prioritizing T-Mobile calls.

"Starting right now, every single Wi-Fi connection just became a Wi-Fi tower," Legere said of T-Mobile's connect-you-anywhere push.

The router, made by Asus, is free but requires a $25 deposit, and those who wish to remain anonymous (like prepaid customers) can buy one for $99.

Finally, T-Mobile announced a partnership with Gogo to let its customers send and received unlimited text and picture messages, including visual voice mail, on all Gogo flights in the US. According to Sievert, Gogo services 8,000 flights in the US per day.

More on that Wi-Fi calling line

A Q&A session with T-Mobile's big wigs confirmed that only new devices will be able to take advantage of Wi-Fi calling and texting. Older devices, like Nexus phones, are out of luck.

Sievert said going forward, T-Mobile will only sell Wi-Fi calling and texting enabled devices, so it technically shouldn't be an issue for new customers. Older ones, however, are less lucky.

Wi-Fi calling and texting won't cost T-Mobile customers extra, and enabled devices will automatically connect to Wi-Fi when they're in range.

Legere made no secret that T-Mobile's announcement is connected to Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, revealed the day before. Both devices support Wi-Fi calling, and T-Mobile is the only US carrier in to offer it to the new iPhones.

The Un-carrier movement marches on

While it's seemed quiet on the T-Mobile front for some months now, Legere said the company has made seven Un-carrier moves in 18 months. Today's announcement is just the latest, but it won't be the last; Legere confirmed yet another Un-carrier announcement is on the way.

The company's mission to shake up the mobile industry, offering everything from no annual contracts to paying customers' early termination fees if they switch from competitors, has certainly rattled T-Mobile's competitors, and it's working wonders for T-Mobile itself.

Legere said T-mobile added more customers and more gross additions (2.75 million) than ever in its history during the month of August alone.

Tags

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

News Editor (US)

As the US News Editor, Michelle (Twitter, Google+) keeps her eye on all things tech with particular interest on phones, tablets and finding out who the people are behind the devices. Any phone that can survive a regular (accidental) drop has her vote for best handset. Michelle previously worked covering local news in the Bay Area and has been with TechRadar since July 2012.